2018’s Triple Threat to Forward Thinking Businesses

2018’s Triple Threat to Forward Thinking Businesses

Leon Adato, The Network Management Head Geek, SolarWinds
Patrick Hubbard, Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager and Head Geek, SolarWinds

Growth of Both Edge and IoT Computing, with Edge Being the Driving Force

Today, immersive technologies like AR/VR and pervasive AI are becoming commonplace, autonomous vehicle fleets are upcoming, and Netflix subscribers number in the hundreds of millions. All these applications run on edge computing – a key process that acts as a network bridge between devices and a centralized cloud, thus driving the growth of IoT.

Computing boundaries will be pushed even further in 2018 to meet the needs of IoT’s demanding applications. As such, the spending on IoT will increase over the years. Gartner has mentioned that 4.9 billion connected things are in use as of 2015 and this figure is expected to grow to 25 billion by 2020[1]2018 may see a proliferation on business-relevant IoT devices, aided and abetted by IoT management tools such as AWS IoT Platform.

Similarly, IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide forecasts that by 2021, global IoT spending is expected to total nearly $1.4 trillion as organizations continue to invest in the hardware, software, services, and connectivity that enable the IoT. Asia will be at the forefront of IoT investment, with spending expected to reach $455 billion in 2021.[2]

Given the interdependent relationship of edge and IoT, businesses which recognize that edge computing is fundamental in helping IoT connect data can develop real-time decisions that shape business and operational outcomes.

Edge will develop an ability to enable locally processed environment data and deliver the kind of speed that bandwidth-intensive content (such as video streaming) requires. It must also provide the capacity to prioritize and analyze data at the source, and enable near real-time decisions.

Reinforcements Needed to Fight Cybersecurity Wars: IT Security Researchers

There's a dearth of security professionals – a recent cybersecurity survey revealed that fewer than one in four security professionals have the qualifications needed to keep an organization secure. Considering the steady proliferation of end point devices and increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals this is an immediate business concern.

A recent example of the key role that cybersecurity experts play came in the form of the WannaCry ransomware cyberhero, Marcus Hutchins. The attack was defused, saving potentially millions for various businesses across different sectors. Closer to home, Singapore’s government agencies and universities have been targets of cyber-attacks. While not directly successful due to competent cybersecurity measures, it highlights the rising frequency of attacks and the need for organizations to be vigilant.

Ambitious businesses will be very much dependent on digital devices, and the success of the business will be very dependent on security researchers aptitude to keep the organization abreast of potential attacks on fundamental technological infrastructure that could cause downtime, reduce productivity and potential lost revenue.

AI & Machine Learning Introduces Automation Opportunities and Challenges

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities is widely perceived as critical for business success in the coming years. In fact, a study conducted by Accenture Research predicts that AI could nearly double Singapore's annual economic growth rates by 2035[3]. However, while this technology is poised to offer breakthrough possibilities to business leaders, there has been concerns around AI replacing jobs – and not just in IT, but for professionals across a variety of industries.

This is poised to change as we’ll see a decrease in automation anxiety as more organizations begin to embrace AI and machine learning as a way to augment their existing human resources. New tools will establish new baselines for efficiency and effectiveness in every industry, and afford enterprises the valuable opportunity to redeploy their workforces to address other challenges.

Businesses planning to adopt AI should cultivate or hire IT professionals with AI- and automation-era skills such as programming, coding, a basic understanding of the algorithms that govern AI and machine learning functionality, and a strong security posture in the face of more sophisticated cyberattacks. At the same time stakeholders across other industry disciplines should recognize that dissecting such broad technology into a specific value-add for a business, and communicating the ROI to decision-makers will be a challenge. To tackle this, they must illustrate that while AI will take over some technical functions, it cannot replace humans for certain activities. Therefore, AI will impact managed services, but it cannot entirely replace people as certain job functions still require a human touch.

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